Five Pitfalls to avoid when choosing a medical Translator
As medical translations consistently have to be very accurate and are also often of a sensitive,
confidential nature, it is important to avoid certain pitfalls when selecting a suitable translator for the task at
One of the mistakes many companies make is not to check the educational and/ or professional
credentials of a potential translator.
A company offering medical translation services must be able to show that their translators are not
only competent in both the source and the target languages, they also must have the medical knowledge required to
correctly translate such documents.
It is therefore essential to look for certifications showing that the company's translators have
undergone the highly specialized training necessary to deliver high quality work.
Translation agencies are governed by quality and accountability assuring industry standards. To
avoid costly mistakes, it is essential to look for agencies holding ISO 9001:2008 certification. This certification
guarantees that a company will follow and uphold the strictest project management systems.
To really make sure a company is fully equipped to deal with medical and/ or pharmaceutical
translations, it is also necessary to look for companies certified for the DIN EN 15038 standard, currently the
world's only certification specific to the translation industry.
To avoid errors or long delays in the work being returned, it is vital to look for companies using
only the best translation tools available. This includes so-called translation memory software. Translation memory
software is essentially a database containing terms that have been previously translated, which not only ensures
consistency in style, but also saves time when specific terms need to be translated.
4) Related Services
If there is a possible that other, related documents may have to be translated, it is best to look
for a company that is capable of dealing with those translations as well.
Although it is obviously possible to get a different company to do such translations, a more
consistent style overall can be achieved. In addition, selecting a second company may result in getting work that
is of a lower standard than that of the originally used company.
Choosing one company to do multiple translations will save time and money, as well as ensuring
As mentioned, medical texts often carry sensitive and frequently even confidential patient
information. Such information should obviously not be made available to the public.
It is therefore vitally important that the selected company has a very clear confidentiality policy
and is prepared to enter into non-disclosure agreements that are legally binding if so desired by
The Internet is full of companies offering translation services. Not all of them will be as
qualified to deal with medical translations as they claim to be. Bearing this in mind and following the above steps
when selecting a suitable translation company will help to avoid hiring the wrong, incapable companies and ending
up having to deal with the often serious and potentially fatal consequences of poor